Set in a 135-year-old mansion in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the intimate 32-room Hotel Portsmouth offers the charm and personalized service of a B&B with the amenities of a boutique hotel—and in a great location within walking distance to the best of Portsmouth.
Built in the late 1800s, the Queen Anne Victorian building started life as a private mansion. In 1985, it opened as the Sise Inn and thirty years later, after an extensive renovation, it reopened as the Hotel Portsmouth, part of the Lark Hotels portfolio. While the renovation made sure to keep many of the period touches, it brought the hotel into the 21st century with iPads and iPod docking stations in every room, free wifi, and modern decor (no calico and doilies here!).
While the hotel does offer several common areas including two living rooms with cozy seating; a breakfast room, and a small bar, there’s no enforced socializing; guests can be as social, or as private, as they want. There’s 24-hour staff onsite to help with any need, including providing maps and making restaurant suggestions (head to trendy Row 34 for a buttery lobster roll or creative appetizers like grilled mushrooms topped with a fried egg) or arranging transportation.
The three dozen guest rooms range from the smallest (Queen) up to the largest, the top-floor Penthouse suite, a mini apartment with 750 square feet of space housing a king bed, a full living room, alcove with two twin beds, and an en-suite bath with tub/shower combo. My husband and I were in the spacious “Loft” room, a 725-square-foot bi-level room located on the 3rd and 4th floors. On the first floor was a large closet; a small breakfront with wine glasses, corkscrew and water; a bathroom with shower; and a cozy sitting area with a writing desk, couch, and coffee table.
Up the stairs, a soft King bed was positioned under the sloped roof; there was a chair and table for relaxing underneath a skylight, and in the bathroom sat a deep clawfoot tub, soft robes, and high-quality Lather amenities.
Flat screen TVs were situated on both floors, along with plenty of plugs and USB ports. I also loved the little touches, like the mid-century Modern end tables, wooden lamps, and vintage bright yellow rotary dial phones.
One of the biggest perks of the hotel is its delicious breakfast spread, which goes way beyond the typical continental and includes coffee, tea, juice, freshly made popovers, and a variety of tapas-sized breakfast dishes such as yogurt with fruit, salads, salami and cheese, and hardboiled eggs.
With charm to spare, a great location, delicious breakfast, and cozy rooms with thoughtful touches, the Hotel Portsmouth makes an excellent base for exploring Portsmouth and the surrounding area.
If you go: Rates range from $129-$329 for Queen rooms, up to $189-$439 for the Penthouse. There’s free onsite parking and breakfast is included. Check in is at 3pm; check out is at 11am. The hotel is a non-smoking property. Make your reservations with the hotel directly or search for them on Booking.com.